Mystery disease in dogs - The Savvy Sitter

Mystery Respiratory Disease in Dogs

Many health officials and scientists have been working to untie the mystery behind the outbreak of the respiratory problem in dogs across the whole United States. Although respiratory problems are very common in dogs veterinarians have noted an unusual increase in severely ill pets with prolonged symptoms of respiratory illness that don’t respond to any treatment. Despite a lot of research and effort veterinarians are yet to identify the definite cause that raises the concern about the pathogen affecting the dogs nationwide. However, a group of scientists in New Hampshire have discovered a bacterium in some cases. Some early-stage investigations suggest that this mystery illness is not a singular cause, instead, some different bacteria and viruses are contributing to this outbreak.

According to the senior veterinarian Dr. Carlson, it’s premature to assume that all the cases have the same cause. Respiratory diseases in dogs have a very unpredictable history and the causes fluctuate a lot. During the time of Covid 19 pandemic, there was an increase in the adoption of dogs and due to close contact with humans, dogs lack the preexisting immunity to diseases.

Mystery disease in dogs - vet care

Here we will talk about this mystery disease in detail and tell you about all the issues related to it.

What Symptoms appear during this disease?

The most common symptoms that were seen were:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Lethargy

In some cases, there were progressed cases of pneumonia and some reported deaths as well. All of these symptoms are not new as they are associated with a common condition known as kennel cough also known as infectious canine respiratory disease complex. This problem in dogs is a contagious respiratory illness that is caused by bacteria and viruses. Most of the cases appear will be mild and the symptoms will clear in a few weeks. However, sometimes these conditions lead to pneumonia and even death.

But the recent cases appear to be more severe, the symptoms usually last for more than six weeks and even show resistance to antibiotics and other treatments. The strangest thing is that the affected dogs are tested negative for the pathogens that are present in kennel cough. It is also noted that the dogs suffering from this problem have some time spent in places like dog daycare boarding facilities or dog parks.

Is the disease spreading in the whole country?

Mystery disease in dogs in US

The extent of the problem is not known because no reporting process or any counting is going on, but reports suggest that hundreds of cases have been reported in more than a dozen states of the U.S. The accurate numbers of the affected animals are difficult to determine.

In some states, there are documented cases like Oregon’s Agriculture department reported more than 200 cases since August. Data provided by some insurance companies also shows that the claims for respiratory illness have increased in different states of the U.S. Due to the strange nature of the disease, it is very difficult to conclude.

Are there any new bacteria or viruses behind this problem?

There is no evidence of new bacteria but scientists think that there may be the possibility of it. A recent research at New Hampshire University shows that there is an unknown bacterium found in the swab of an infected dog. However, these findings are not common as the organism is not detected in other cases. Scientists are still searching for the cause behind this mysterious illness.

Mystery disease in dogs - research

Dr. David Needle, a veterinary pathologist at New Hampshire University, there is a strong belief that the cause behind this disease is something that is referred to as Kennel cough. However, it is also uncertain whether the bacterium is causing the disease or playing a role in the recent outbreak. The problem can be benign or it is a secondary cause of disease affecting those dogs that are already sick and worsening their condition. Even if the bacterium is the primary cause of the disease there is no way that one bacterium is causing so many respiratory issues.

What other grounds could contribute to these outbreaks?

Scientists are associating the outbreak with “unusual suspects” other than the usual suspects which are known bacteria and viruses in case of kennel cough. Although, there are no new results in the dog tests the experts think that these tests are not enough. Normally dogs suffering from kennel cough are not tested until their symptoms become too severe. In such cases, the dogs may no longer be shedding enough bacteria or viruses that could be detected. According to veterinary virologists if the test is a few days late even though the dog is coughing the agent might not be detected.

Some experts also share their experience that the rate of respiratory diseases in dogs has also increased in the past few years in Canada and the United States. There is also a theory that the consequence is because of the COVID-19 pandemic because during that time dogs were not going to kennels and day care which exposed them to respiratory issues. The less socialization of canines and the owners feeling difficulties in vaccinating their dogs against the diseases make them more prone to certain pathogens. This could be the cause of the gradual increase in the disease that we are observing.

What owners should do?

Owners try to keep an eye on their dogs for any type of coughing that comes along with the signs of nasal and ocular discharge. If your dog also loses his appetite along with trouble breathing and lethargy then the problem is concerning.

The owners are advised not to bring their pups to daycare, kennels, and parks if their dog is feeling sick. If you want to take your dog to the vet call your vet before going and wait in the car until you are called upon or enter from a different gate.

Your local vet also must let you know about any new illness that is present in your area. The best thing is to hire a dog sitter rather than sending your pup to boarding. However, if you are in an area where there is an illness then no need to panic. You can only take precautionary measures and do things that are in your hand but you can’t control the fate. Take care of your pups and enjoy your life.

Mystery disease in dogs care

About the Author:

Savanna Westwood

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